November 30, 2022

Indiana and Northwestern To Develop Open Source Streaming A/V System


Indiana University (IU) Libraries, Bloomington, in partnership with Northwestern University Library, Evanston, IL, aims to assist academic libraries and archives in managing locally-generated video and audio collections with an open source software project called Variations on Video (VoV). VoV will also provide streaming delivery of such collections to patrons via browsers and mobile devices.

The project received a $947,963 grant (match: $1,125,566) from the Institute of Museum and Library Services earlier this year. Though funded for three years, the project will strive to have a first working version of VoV by late 2012.

VoV’s project director, IU director of library technologies and digital libraries Jon Dunn, told LJ that while existing streaming-video subscription services provide access to specific, proprietary collections, academic libraries also have “a great deal of their own video content…ranging from archival collections to locally-developed teaching materials to born-digital videos being deposited by faculty into institutional repositories.”

Other academic library-aimed video content management tools, he said, “lack support for the authorization/access control capabilities and integration with library workflows and metadata standards required for such materials.” VoV, envisioned as a tool for uploading, processing, managing, and delivering video and audio, will be designed to address those issues.

The project is an extension of a previous IU-led project, first developed in 1996 and made open source in 2009, called Variations—a streaming digital-music library system now in use at 20 institutions, including IU. VoV, Dunn said, is expected to eventually replace the current content management back-end components of the original Variations system.

VoV will use a number of existing open source components, including a Fedora digital repository system, the open-source lecture-capture and video management system Opencast Matterhorn, and components developed by the multi-institutional Hydra Project. Once completed, the system and its source code will be freely available to anyone under an Apache or BSD-style open source license, said Dunn.

Several other institutions with extensive audio and video collections have been announced as collaborators and advisers on the project, including Stanford University; the University of California, Berkeley; the University of Virginia; New York University; Harvard University; the University of Connecticut; the University of Miami; University of York, UK; the Boston public television network WGBH; and the Cleveland-based Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.


David Rapp About David Rapp

Associate editor David Rapp previously covered technology for Library Journal.